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Attitudes toward and perceived psychosocial impact of female circumcision as practiced among the Bedouin-Arabs of the Negev.

Fam Process. 1999 Winter;38(4):431-43.

Attitudes toward and perceived psychosocial impact of female circumcision as practiced among the Bedouin-Arabs of the Negev.

al-Krenawi A, Wiesel-Lev R.

Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. alean@bgumail.bgu.ac.il

ABSTRACT

The present pilot study examines attitudes toward and the perceived psychosocial impact of circumcision as practiced among the Bedouin-Arabs of the Negev, Israel. A convenience sample of 24 women participated in the study: 12 who had experienced the ritual, and 12 who had not, but who had witnessed or been told about the practice of the ritual on women in their extended families. Two research instruments were used: a structured questionnaire, and a semi-structured open-ended interview. Data showed differences in subject responses depending on the research tools. The structured questionnaire revealed that women who had experienced the circumcision gave legitimization and cognitive rationalization to it. In contrast, the semi-structured interview revealed that these same subjects reported insult: traumatization, direct negative influences, and narcissistic insult, and described emotional difficulties during the research interviews. The findings indicated that they had difficulties in mother-daughter relationships and trust. Implications of the ritual on the continuity of polygamy and marital/sexual problems are discussed.

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